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Don't Retire — Rewire!

When your career ends, let a new life begin. Here's how to spark retirement plans into action.

By Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners | August 30, 2012
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Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners are former partners at Sedlar & Miners, an executive search and transition coaching firm.

It practically goes without saying that the traditional notion of retirement — work full time until 65 then relax for the remaining few years of your life — is kaput. Now that we’re living longer, you could be in retirement for 20 to 30 years or more. That’s a lot of time to fill.
 
Through our research we’ve discovered that some pre-retirees see the longevity bonus as a gift. Others view it as a curse. Either way, you need to come up with a way to make those extra years as fulfilling as possible.
 
Our suggestion? Don’t retire — rewire! And we have a four-step process to help you do it. (You can learn more at our website, dontretirerewire.com.)
 
Retirement has traditionally meant walking away from a career to start ... what? People often run into trouble because they go from work to random activities, only to be disappointed, bored or frustrated. (The new book, The Retirement Maze, describes this phenomenon in detail; Richard Eisenberg recently blogged about it on Next Avenue.)
 
(MORE: Why You Should Hire a Retirement Planner)
 
Rewiring, by contrast, is about rerouting your personal energy, previously devoted to work, into pursuits that will fulfill you mentally and physically.
 
The Four-Step Process
 
Our four-step rewiring process works because it is the catalyst for a journey of self-discovery, inspiring action. Each step builds on the next. They are:
 
1. See retirement as a time for new opportunities
 
2. Identify your personal motivators, or drivers. (What makes you tick?)
 
3. Recognize which activities you want to pursue now
 
4. Develop an action plan for engaging in your new activities — it's the beginning of your "rewirement" vision. 
 

(MORE: Phased Retirement: What You Need to Know)
 
 
Questions To Ask Yourself
 
The following questions will help you begin the rewiring process. Ask yourself:
 
Do I see retirement positively, negatively or mixed?  Why?
 
What motivates me (beyond money)? What makes me happy and fulfilled?
 
Can I find ways to tap these sources of fulfillment in my life, at work and play?
 
Once I have more time and a vision, how will I take action? What's my battle plan?
 
Am I open to exploring new ideas?
 
To make this exercise more meaningful, get a journal and jot down your answers, noting your thoughts, fears and concerns about your future. This is the beginning of your rewiring action plan.
 
How you answer these questions will help you take the first steps toward creating a fulfilling future for yourself.
 
So carve out some time to launch your rewiring process — now. Think of it as Life: 2.0. You and the people you love will be glad you did, for many years to come.

(Rewire, Rewiring, Rewirement and Don't Retire, Rewire are the registered trademarks of Jeri Sedlar, co-author of Don't Retire, REWIRE!)